Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced the city will move forward with just one casino proposal. This is the result of a unanimous recommendation from the casino advisory committee to sign a host-community agreement with MGM over Penn National. The agreement includes MGM’s commitment to support up to 12 events each year at existing venues like the Mass Mutual Center, Symphony Hall and City Stage. Sarno says that’s just one example of how the casino will be used as a hub for citywide investment.
“Some interesting ancillary aspects of a skating rink, the trolleys downtown, riverfront park. Vibrancy that will strengthen our downtown core.”
Sarno says MGM’s 800 million dollar proposal delivers the best direct financial benefits. Springfield will receive a one-million dollar signing bonus up-front from MGM — money the city doesn’t have to return. And if MGM is awarded the one Western Massachusetts license, Springfield will get over 25 million dollars A year. Chief development officer Kevin Kennedy says that money will pay for citywide improvements — like better emergency response.
“We will not just look at a security arrangement for the casino. We will implement a downtown security plan that will involve a 15 additional officers, training to go with all those officers, everything is comprehensively covered.”
Kennedy says those are among the 3,000 permanent jobs MGM has promised Springfield. He says if the city council signs the proposal and approves of referendum in the next few weeks, residents could vote on the agreement by mid-July. Meanwhile representatives from Penn National say they haven’t ruled out working with another Western Massachusetts community on a casino proposal.